Benefits of Raw Foods: A Cure for Insomnia?


Last week, I talked about one of the benefits I’ve received from raw foods: Increased energy. This week I noticed yet another surprising benefit from my transition to raw foods. My lifelong battle with insomnia appears to have entered a truce!

Foods, Moods, and Sleep

Food has an enormous impact on both moods and sleep. The secret may lie within the various combinations of macronutrients and micro nutrients inherent within the food. Certain amino acids, for examples, provide the building blocks for various neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) that produce feelings of calmness, peace and optimism. If we ate nothing but a great variety of pure, natural and wholesome foods every day, we’d probably get all the nutrients we need to feel well – and be well.

The SAD Diet May Contribute to Insomnia

I’ve been a lifelong insomniac with my insomnia peaking whenever my stress level rises to a fevered pitch and leveling when I remember to take care of myself. As a child, I was called a ‘rough sleeper’ by my mother, constantly kicking off the bedcovers, falling out of bed, sleepwalking and talking nonstop in my sleep. This followed me into adulthood, making some nights so difficult even the cat didn’t want to sleep next to me!

One thing that I noticed is that the more my diet reflected the typical SAD or Standard American Diet, the worse my sleep would be. The more processed and packaged foods I ate, for example, the more tired I’d feel by the end of the day, yet the worse my sleep would be. Embarking on my own raw food journey was a lifesaver and has enhanced my sleep enormously.

Our bodies are sensitive instruments, and changes in sleeping, energy, digestion and concentration are often clues as to what’s going on biochemically inside of us.  I noted that on days when I consumed nothing but raw fruit until noon and mostly raw foods until dinner, followed by a cooked vegan meal, my sleep was better. I’d sleep more deeply and sleep longer. I also found my moods improved and my energy levels rising. On days when I didn’t eat as ‘clean’ and relied upon toasted wheat bread with some homemade fruit spread for breakfast and other cooked and sometimes processed or restaurant foods for the rest of the day, I’d be falling asleep in my chair watching television at 8 p.m. but wide awake and staring at the clock at midnight.

Raw Foods and Better Sleep

Based on these observations and the correlation between my raw food diet and a good night’s sleep, I came to the following conclusions:

•    Detoxification: Eating nothing but fruit and fresh fruit juices in the morning is a time honored method of detoxification. On the days when I did this, my elimination improved…and I believe that my natural detoxification cycle was enhanced. The fewer the toxins floating around, the better my sleep.

•    Natural eating patterns:  On the days when I focused on my raw food goals and ate almost 100% raw, I tended to stop eating at dusk. I ate fruit in the morning, greens and vegetables in the afternoon, and more vegetables in the evening, stopping my food intake around dusk. This follows the natural patterns our bodies are programmed to follow, which may have enhanced my waking and sleeping cycle too.

•    Less food weighing me down:  Last week, I decided to embark upon a fruit fast for one day. I ate nothing but fruit until dinner time, followed by a very light supper. I slept like a rock that night! With less food weighing me down, my body seemed to naturally take care of its sleep cycles.

Are raw foods the ultimate cure for insomnia? Probably not. I’m sure there are plenty of raw food folks who eat 100% raw foods daily who find they can’t fall asleep at night. We’re each unique, with different bodies that respond to stimuli differently. Yet I hope that my own personal testimonial of how raw foods helped my insomnia may help you. Eating according to my body’s natural cycles, choosing lighter foods, and the occasional fast sure beats listening to the Grandfather clock in the hallway striking the hours all night long as I stare at the ceiling battling insomnia once again!

These statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration.  The preceding information and/or products are for educational purposes only and are not meant to diagnose, prescribe, or treat illness. Please consult your doctor before making any changes or before starting ANY exercise or nutritional supplement program or before using this information or any product during pregnancy or if you have a serious medical condition.

Written by:  Jeanne Grunert
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